General Motors says a battery explosion at one of its US research labs that seriously injured one employee and left four others needing medical attention is unrelated to the Chevrolet Volt or any other production vehicle.
Fire and emergency services authorities were called to GM’s Alternative Energy Center in Warren, Michigan, on Wednesday morning following the explosion, which the manufacturer says was the result of “extreme testing on a prototype battery”.
The building was evacuated and all employees have been accounted for. The Detroit News reports the hospitalised worker is “seriously injured”, suffering chemical burns and possible concussion, although is expected to make a full recovery.
GM says the incident is under investigation and the cause cannot be confirmed at this time. The Detroit News claims gases were released from an experimental lithium-ion battery pack and ignited in a research lab, causing the explosion. The battery itself was reportedly left intact from the blast.
GM’s lithium-ion battery safety came under question last year when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US launched an investigation into the Chevrolet Volt after a vehicle it crash-tested in May developed a coolant leak and caught fire three weeks later.